The people of Tallahassee have been very merciful.
After Mass at Blessed Sacrament on Friday evening, a man named Hernan approached me and bought me dinner at the parish Lenten meal. I spoke with many people who were interested in the pilgrimage: Rosie, Rosa, Sonya, Nell, Marshall, and Jack.
I spoke with Fr. Tim at Blessed Sacrament asking for permission to camp on the property. After he spoke with his fellow priest Fr. Matt, and the pastor, Fr. Pete, I was given a guest room with a private bath in the rectory building. Wow! I also met Fr. Abraham, a priest from NY visiting to help with a retreat house on the property.
I met Nature, who has been on the street in Tallahassee for three years. He documents his experiences through writing and art. We shared a meal and Nature discussed some of his views on things with me. Self-dubbed, he had a unique encounter with a hawk upon arriving in Tallahassee, and is very found of creation and nature.
I met Brandon and Amber, who didn’t have enough money to take the bus towards the west side of town. I was able to help them out.
On Saturday, I arrived at the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas Moore, the next stop on this pilgrimage. It is located adjacent to Florida State University campus. I passed through the Door of Mercy and went to confession in the chapel.
Back at the rectory, Fr. Tim and I shared a meal and discussed Tallahassee, the homeless, pilgrimages, and vocations. Fr. Tim was ordained 5 years ago and has been at Blessed Sacrament since. He enjoys fishing on his day off. Early in the weekend he gave me a $50 gift card to Publix supermarkets.
I said goodbye to Fr. Matt, whose brother Andrew had just “graduated” from the military. He was on his way meet him and bring him a gift. Fr. Matt was ordained 2 years ago and was assigned to Blessed Sacrament, the same parish he grew up in. I think he mentioned he was actually baptized at Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Tim, is from the area and has a strong connection to Blessed Sacrament too.
Sunday afternoon I attended Mass at the Co-Cathedral before leaving town. I spoke with John, my friend from Lee, FL, via phone. He asked me to keep an eye out for his friend Aaron, who is traveling westward. It was nice catching up with John.
I decided to put in a few miles and hiked to the west side of town. I hung out at a McDonald’s and used wifi to catch up with friends and family. I camped just outside the Lake Talquin State Recreation Area. I felt rested and revamped. I felt ready for the road to Pensacola.